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Beam, Lura, 1887-1978. Papers of Lura Beam, 1900-1969: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: 75-166--75-400
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Lura Beam, 1887-1978
Title: Papers of Lura Beam, 1900-1969
Date(s): 1900-1969
Quantity: 2 linear feet (2 cartons) plus 1 oversize folder, 1 oversize scrapbook)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Writings, correspondence, photographs, etc., of Lura Ella Beam, educator and writer.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 75-166, 75-193, 75-400

Processing Information:

Processed: September 1979
By: Jane S. Knowles

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Lura Beam is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in published books is retained by Lura Beam's heirs. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Lura Beam Papers, 1900-1969; item description, dates. 75-166--75-400, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Lura Beam spent her life studying and writing about what she described as "the poor in life; minorities, some women, some Causes like education and the arts." Born in Marshfield, Maine, in 1887, she attended the University of California, Berkeley (1904-1906), and graduated from Barnard in 1908. In 1917, she earned an M.A. from Columbia. She worked at the American Missionary Association (AMA), 1908-1919, beginning here the work that she would pursue, in one form or another, for the rest of her life. For three years she worked for the American Missionary Association as a teacher at two black schools: the Gregory Normal Institute in Wilmington, North Carolina, and then the LeMoyne Normal School in Memphis, Tennessee. She then became the American Missionary Association's Assistant Superintendent of Education in charge of the Deep South, visiting schools and colleges throught the South to determine their most successful teachers and programs. Her reports were sent to all American Missionary Association schools so that they could improve the quality of education they offered.
From 1919 to 1926 Beam researched and wrote reports for the Association of American Colleges. The research and travel for "Art in the Liberal College," an extensive study of art curricula in seven representative colleges, provided a basis for her later work for the American Association of University Women (AAUW), 1937-1952, where Beam organized and mounted art exhibitions and surveys of community art projects. First, however, Beam worked for the National Committee on Maternal Health (1927-1933), the General Education Board in New York City, and a Federal research project in industrial unemployment.
Since retiring in 1952, Beam has continued to write and to organize art exhibitions; since 1968, she has been compiling information and writing a study on aging and retirement.


Correspondence, diary, 1925-1969, manuscripts, articles, scrapbook, diplomas, photos, and clippings concern Beam. Collection includes correspondence, drafts, and reviews regarding Beam's books; a 1900 Marshfield, Maine, tax list with manuscript entries; printed articles and other material on AAUW art exhibitions and classes from the 1940s and 1950s; volumes of material for a seminar on human relations, entitled "Marriage and Sex Adjustment"; and material on the American Missionary Association, the Association of American Colleges, and the Council of Church Boards of Education, with reports, 1922-1923, of research. The arrangement follows the chronological order of Beam's career, as outlined in her autobiographical sketch.


Container List

Additional Index Terms

Drafts (preliminary versions)
Maine--Social life and customs
Manuscripts (for publication)
Sex instruction
American Association of University Women--Exhibition
American Missionary Association
Association of American Colleges
National Committee on Maternal Health